Ex-U.S. soldier from St. Marys sentenced for plotting murder of servicemember stabbed to death

·2 min read

A former U.S. soldier has been sentenced to 20 years in federal prison after pleading guilty to his role in a plot for murder on a fellow servicemember.


Action News Jax brought you the news in October 2022 when Byron Booker, 29, of Ludowici Ga., pleaded guilty to murdering U.S. Army specialist Austin J. Hawk, 21. He was stabbed 40 times. The reason behind the murder was Hawk had reported co-defendant Jordan Brown, 23, to U.S. Army leadership for smoking marijuana.

Related Story: Former Army soldier of Camden Co. pleads guilty in attack that killed Fort Stewart servicemember

Brown was sentenced on Wed., Mar. 21, to 240 months in prison after pleading guilty to assault upon a U.S. servicemember involving bodily injury with a deadly weapon, and retaliation against a witness involving bodily injury, Kill E. Steinberg, U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of Georgia said. U.S. District Court Judge R. Stan Baker also ordered Brown to serve three years of supervised release upon completion of his prison term.

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Brown’s co-defendant, Booker, was sentenced on Feb. 2 to life in prison after previously pleading guilty to premeditated murder of Hawk.

“Both of these defendants are responsible for the brutal murder of a U.S. Army soldier who honorably performed his duties as a service member,” U.S. Attorney Steinberg said. “The final sentence in this case hopefully provides justice for Specialist Austin Hawk, and holds his killers accountable.”

According to a press release from the U.S. Department of Justice:

As described in court testimony and in the plea agreements for the defendants, Brown, a former U.S. Army Private First Class, admitted that he and Booker, a former U.S. Army sergeant, discussed “silencing” Specialist Austin J. Hawk, 21, at Fort Stewart Military Reservation in retaliation for Hawk reporting Brown to U.S. Army leadership for marijuana use. After gaining entry to Hawk’s barracks room shortly after midnight on Jun. 17, 2020, Booker “slashed and stabbed Hawk repeatedly with a sharp-edged weapon.” A medical examiner noted that Hawk received 40 separate stab or slash wounds, many of them that individually would have been fatal, and cut his own hand during the assault.

Hawk’s body was found in his Fort Stewart barracks room the next day. Brown was in his own barracks room on the floor below Hawk’s room during the assault.

Related Story: Ex-Army soldier admits to stabbing fellow soldier 40 times for reporting marijuana use

“Brown’s sentence is a direct result of the hard work and persistence put in by the FBI Savannah Resident Agency and our partners at the U.S. Army and the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of Georgia,” Keri Farley, Special Agent in Charge of FBI Atlanta, said. “Hawk’s family and friends will never be rid of the pain this senseless murder has caused them, but hopefully it gives them some sense of resolve to know that justice will be served.”

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The Department of the Army Criminal Investigation Division and the FBI investigated the case, which was prosecuted for the United States by Southern District of Georgia Assistant U.S. Attorneys Jennifer G. Solari and Darron J. Hubbard.

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